Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

...and also Chocolate Rolls. Holy Saturday Decadence.

I got up pretty early this morning, and decided nothing would do but cinnamon rolls.

I used to work at an Adventist summer camp, as the store manager. My job didn't include much cooking, so while I was never involved in the actual dough prep, as part of the general staff I used to wake up really early on Cinnamon Roll Day (Thursday) to help roll out and top the cinnamon rolls for the (hundreds of) kids. 

Summer 2006, back when I was blonde.

Considering how much I loved Thursday breakfast that summer, or the amazing ones my mom makes, I'm surprised it's taken me this long to try to make my own. 

Better late than never: this is in the running for the best cinnamon roll I've ever had, vegan or otherwise. A quick round of texting brought a few friends over to feed as well. 

The statement, "You can't even tell it's vegan," was made a couple times. I consider this is the omnivore equivalent of high praise, but you can't credit me really, this is adapted from the "Better-than-Cinnabon" recipe, see the link below. 

Cinnamon and Chocolate Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
Cinnamon: 265 calories
Chocolate: 300 calories
plus a bit for icing
Makes 16.

2½ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
½ cup white sugar (100 g)
1 cup almond milk, warm (8 oz.)

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds whisked together with 6 tablespoons water
⅓ cup vegan butter, melted (2.66 oz.)
4½ cups unbleached flour (560 g)
1 teaspoon salt (6 g)

1 cup packed brown sugar, divided (196 g)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (6 g)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (6 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (4 g)

⅓ cup vegan butter, softened (2.66 oz)
Optional chocolate, raisins, nuts. I used 1.25 oz. (half a bar) of Trader Joe's dark chocolate raisin pecan, chopped up, for the chocolate ones.

3 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese
1.5 cups powdered sugar (188 g)
1/4 cup vegan butter (2 oz.)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (2 g)
1/8 tsp salt (0.75 g)

The Process
1. Several hours before, take the cream cheese and butter out of the fridge to soften.
2. Mix yeast, sugar and warm milk and let set for 10 minutes until foamy.
3. Mix flax with water and let sit a few minutes.
4. Melt one of the 1/3 cups of vegan butter.
5. Add the flax "eggs", flour, salt and melted butter to the yeast.
6. Mix it up and knead 10 minutes to make a not-sticky dough. 
7. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 1-1.5 hours. I gave mine 80 minutes. 
8. Place on a floured surface and cover again. Let rest 10 minutes.
8.5 Meanwhile, mix toppings. 
Place 1/2 cup brown sugar in each of two bowls. 
To one add the cinnamon.
To the other add the cocoa powder and vanilla.
9. Divide the dough into two parts, set one aside.
10. With the other, roll a rectangle. Perfect edges are definitely not required. 
11. Spread about half the 1/3 cup of softened vegan butter on the dough, then sprinkle on the cinnamon or chocolate topping. At this stage, you could also add nuts, raisins, or like me, chopped chocolate.
12. Roll it up from the long side and cut into 8 pieces.
13. Place each roll cut side down in a greased baking pan (I used 9 inch round pie pans), cover.
14. Repeat 10-13 with the other half of the dough. 
15. Let rise 30 minutes and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
16. Bake about 15-20 minutes, turning pans partway through. 

A note about baking time and temperature: My rolls were brown on the top but gooey in the middle after 15 minutes, so I turned the heat down to 350 and gave each another 10 minutes. This worked great, but next time I might try starting at a lower temperature. 

For the icing:
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. It may seem a little firm, but it gets melty when you add it to the top of the warm rolls. Easily makes enough for all of them. 

Dough ingredients.

Mixed and kneaded about 8 minutes.

Peeking while it rises.

The roll-out workstation. Letting it rest.

Rolled into a rectangle, spread with softened vegan butter.

Toppings: cinnamon, chocolate.

Half of this bar, chopped.

Roll it up.

Place in pan.

Let rise, then bake.

Meanwhile, make icing.

 That lovely flecked look is from the flax meal.

Top it with icing. Love. Share. Or don't. 

Do you have a favorite cinnamon roll memory?

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